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HIPAA Guidelines & Resources

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HIPAA Guidelines & Compliance

HIPAA compliant eCommerce is relatively complicated due to the HIPAA requirements and the fact that these requirements span across both the technical and the data side of an eCommerce application. It also goes into the internal business processes in its need for constant monitoring and validation that the application is indeed complying with HIPAA guidelines.

As a result, there is a consistent and never-ending requirement to audit and review in order to adjust and fine-tune a HIPAA compliant eCommerce application. The best practices are periodically complete penetration tests, white hat hacking, and other forms of validation against the software. You should also have security audits against the hosting and infrastructure to ensure that the data is encrypted at rest, and then that there is some form of validation process for auditing and reviewing what people have access to.

Sample of Clarity HIPAA Projects

Ultimately, we recommend creating a guideline checklist with periodic reviews ensuring for successful validation of HIPAA compliance specifically within an eCommerce site. The HIPAA compliance requirements that drive this are the HIPAA privacy security rule, the HIPAA enforcement rule. And the HIPAA breach notification rule.

What Does HIPAA Mean for You?

HIPAA Security Rules

There are four different rules that make up the HIPAA or Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. These apply to how eCommerce tends to be focused around HIPAA and its security rule, which is made up of three subsections: physical safeguards, technical safeguards, and administrative safeguards. Each of these subsections have their own requirements as well. The smartest clients are not the ones that know all of this. They're the ones that know they don't know everything and take the safeguard to hire a HIPAA consultant that does. That's where Clarity can help.

The biggest comment is generally the technical safeguards, which can be broken into access control, authentication, and transmission security. This boils down to things like SSL, making sure the application is sending data security over socket layers or that the data itself is being encrypted when stored. It also includes access limitations, making unauthorized users and unauthorized computers unable to access data. It can essentially make all the capabilities of interacting with the system lock down when needed.

Furthermore, it can make sure that there is extensive logging of information for when the data was available, who accessed it, and when it was accessed. Additionally, it can log any and all changes made to the data, helping keep track of who is responsible for what, making any sort of internal privacy breach easier to solve.

This can all be relatively challenging to do manually. As such, the eCommerce application itself needs to be able to log interactions with the data, ensure that the data is encrypted properly when stored, and make sure that the data can support the capability of encrypting the data at rest.

The eCommerce platform itself alongside the software and hosting infrastructure must be configured and validated to be compliant. There are some nice software applications that we recommend that are available to perform the majority of this kind of periodic auditing and reviewing. They can at least provide a baseline of a security audit and verification via a summary and report, providing the details of compliance with the requirements for security and data encryption.

Securing Sensitive Information

Data Management & Accessibility

In addition, it’s very important that that data itself is properly managed throughout the lifecycle of the interaction with the end user’s data. This includes logging who has access to the data and when. This also covers when a user is no longer using the system and they choose to delete their account. They need to have all of their access to the data rescinded at this point, ensuring that no one necessary can get access to sensitive data.

This is where more advanced logging can be helpful. Furthermore, you want to make the user interface as friendly as possible for end users, so they can easily remove their information from the system when deleting their account. It’s absolutely critical that their sensitive health information is removable on their end.

If someone needs to access the system to audit, they need to be able to see the audit logs as well as be able to review and confirm that the best practices were employed to ensure that the data was encrypted effectively. This is partially why it is so important that the data is encrypted at rest and during transmission. Tokenization is a great way to do this.

Tokenization, if employed, sets strong access control, making people only able to see limited sets of information based on their user role. This limits what they can log, access, or modify. Centralized administration roles should only be accessible by a select few, and there should ideally be some form of multi-factor authentication or a robust authentication method. These people should also have access to immediately remove a user who has access to the system and want their account and all if their protected health information (PHI) removed.

How Can Clarity Help

Clarity Marketplace Experts

We hope this has provided you with a general overview about HIPAA guidelines. If you’d like more detailed information at HIPAA eCommerce guidelines and other specific components of HIPAA eCommerce, we have a list of further resources below. We strongly urge you to review them as HIPAA eCommerce is a constantly evolving set of requirements due to the nature of the software industry. It’s ever-changing and there are always new and critical threats to the security of information. You will want to be as prepared as possible.

We encourage you to research and to make sure that you and your team are up to speed. We would love to help you with this process through our ongoing product updates and service and support available with our HIPAA eCommerce platform. Feel free to reach out to us with any questions. We look forward to working with you.

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